BARNSTABLE, Mass. (August 31, 2012) — Researchers estimate there are more than 6 million people with clinically significant hoarding problems in the United States (equivalent to the population of the entire state of Massachusetts). OCD Massachusetts is pleased to announce that the Mid-Cape Hoarding Task Force has changed its name to Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force (CCHTF) to reflect that the task force now serves and includes partners from the entire Cape region. Since its inception two years ago, the Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force has been committed to providing resources and quality programming to meet the needs of the Mid-Cape — and now entire Cape Cod — community.
Hoarding is a related disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and is often treatable when properly diagnosed — but it takes more than just an effective therapist to address the problem. People with hoarding disorder acquire more possessions than they can afford or manage, have great difficulty discarding items they don’t or can’t use, and have trouble organizing things in a useful way. Their living spaces are often so cluttered that they can no longer use rooms, furniture, appliances and/or other objects for what they were originally intended.
“Hoarding may seem like a rare condition, but it demands attention because of its high costs — both financial and emotional,” explains Denise Egan Stack, LMHC, President of OCD Massachusetts and CCHTF steering committee member. “In extreme cases, fire and safety officials must intervene, sometimes removing the person from his/her home. These events can be emotionally devastating for the person with hoarding problems.”
Because hoarding cases typically involve help and expertise from multiple government agencies, including social services, elder services, public health officials, and fire and safety officials, the most effective way to address hoarding issues is to through the creation of a task force. The common purpose of all task forces is to provide a directed and managed response to hoarding cases that come to public attention. Whether in large cities or in small towns, task forces organize and provide public education about hoarding, give out service agency information, offer trainings and give support to families.
“For years, municipal agencies have struggled to deal with this public health issue independently,” explains Lee A. Mannillo, chairperson of the Task Force. “The Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force has worked to coordinate a multi-agency approach which has improved outcomes for many people in need.”
In addition to developing a web site (www.hoardingcapecod.org), the Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force has developed relationships with like-minded task forces around the state, worked with various media outlets to raise awareness in the community about hoarding, coordinated local agencies to implement joint service plans, and helped many local families. Recently, the task force hosted a screening of the movie My Mother’s Garden, a documentary about compulsive hoarding, to help educate the community. The Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force is currently planning many more programs, including a seminar this fall to discuss legal issues related to hoarding.
Please join the Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force at their next meeting at 9:30am on September 13, 2012. The group will meet in the Harborview Meeting Room, Old County Jail House, 3195 Main Street, Barnstable, MA 02630. Professionals who work with hoarders are especially encouraged to attend.
About OCD Massachusetts
Founded in 1986, this local affiliate of the International OCD Foundation serves individuals with OCD and related disorders, and their loved ones, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The mission and of OCD Massachusetts is to educate the public and professionals about OCD in order to raise awareness and improve the quality of treatment provided in Massachusetts; improve access to resources for those with OCD and their families in Massachusetts, and advocate and lobby for the OCD community in Massachusetts.